Enormous moth of 31 cm wing span. White with brown bands. The underside of the moth is also very beautiful (last picture).
The valley of San Cristobal de Las Casas is at an altitude of about 2,200 meters and is surrounded by pine forest and highland wetlands. Our wetlands have been severely depleted since the 1980's and the forests are in grave danger as well from over population, illegal logging and gravel mining.
This is the White Witch, Great Grey Witch, or as it is called in Mexico, the Gavilana (“the hawk”). This moth can reach very large sizes, making it the insect with the largest wing span in the world. The species is Thysania agrippina of the Family Noctuidae (the same Family as the Black Witch). It occurs from Southern Mexico through South America and often comes to lights. This specimen was captured at a gas station in 1987 in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and is the largest that we’ve seen at 31 cm (12+ inches) of wingspan. We have not seen any of these moths since the 1980’s. The underside of the wings are darker and it has long spurs on the legs. The larva is rarely seen and the range of host plants is unknown.
Lat: 16.74, Long: -92.64
Spotted on Aug 20, 1987
Submitted on Sep 27, 2012
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